Valera is 16, lives alone. He and his brother were abandoned by their mother who on one beautiful day simply left for Russia “to seek her happiness” and left the boys in Lugansk. The younger was taken to an orphanage. Valera lives alone. No father, no mother–nobody who could help. He was not abandoned just anywhere, but in Lugansk. Not the safest part of the world. “They are grown already”, she said to friends as she was leaving. Yes, 16 and 10–a whole lifetime, what can one say.
I wrote about them in October (please click on the “Valera” tag at the bottom of this post).
But here’s what I want to say–friends, thank you for responding! Huge thanks for helping this young man!
I share all your outrage at THAT woman. And thank you for replying with words and deeds.
One young man sent money for clothing “so that he can choose it himself”.
So we chose it together.
Look at how happy he looks on his “sweetshot” )))
Karina will turn two in a month. She is alive and growing only because she gets an injection of Cerebrocurine every two months which the family can barely afford. It’s a crisis every time it’s the turn to buy more ampules. But the big problem is not even the money, but rather that it’s hard to get the drug in LPR.
Zhenya said that Ira, the girl’s mom, is “out of her mind”.
When she was one month old, she was diagnosed with a internal hematoma in a location which ruled out trauma. She had a surgery, there were complications, followed by meningoencephalitis. Now there is a liquid where the hematoma used to be, which cannot be removed. She needs the injections to live.
Ira and Karina
The three kids on the photos below are Roma, Anya, and Katya, all from Lugansk. They have been just diagnosed with diabetes. The girls found out about it in emergency rooms. How is a parent to know what’s happening? The child simply appears weak, listless. That could be caused by a thousand things, including stress which is a normal thing OVER THERE. Many LPR kids have lived through bombings, slept in cellars and heard shells strike neighboring homes many times. And then the kid suddenly loses consciousness, falls into a coma.
The newly discovered diabetics are a post-war scourge. Their number is growing, unfortunately.
Friends, as you know, we try to help diabetics in the Republics. Insulin is being issued regularly, so far there are no problems with it, thank God. But as I already said many times, it’s hard to get test strips. It’s not even about getting them at the pharmacies. They can be purchased. The problem is that they cost a lot. And they are not issued for free, like insulin. Average LPR salary is about 5,000 rubles. A single test strip pack is 1,300 rubles, and one needs an average of two packs per month.
Katya’s home in Valuyskoye was completely destroyed during fighting in 2014. They fled to Russia where they started over as refugees. With nothing. Four kids plus parents. One must say things went well for them in the Nizhnyy Novgorod Region. But a short circuit-caused fire nearly killed them. Katya saved the family when she woke up the parents and carried out two of her unconscious siblings. She received an order for bravery. I wrote about it in August, in a post titled Hero Girl.
They all survived but…had no place to live. They returned to Lugansk, as there was no place for them in Valuyskoye and they didn’t want to go back there anyway. It’s occupied by UAF, therefore they went to LPR. To start over with nothing for a second time. But already this summer they suffered a tragedy.
The pudgy-cheeked pup on the photo was born in Lugansk already during the war. Sasha very recently found herself in a hospital. They found diabetes, before that she was in emergency rooms three times.
Unfortunately, LPR diabetes problems have gotten much worse. The number of insulin-dependent patients is growing rapidly. What can one say. It all comes down to–“war”.
Now the kid has to take insulin shots. It’s issued for free (though they say there might be problems with deliveries of certain kinds before the New Year). But test strips or glucose meters are another story–parents have to buy those themselves. The girl can’t survive if her sugar can’t be monitored.
Initially one needs lots of strips. Usually a diabetic uses two packets a month. But newly diagnosed ones four or five…Test strips cost 1100 rubles per packet in Lugansk. Often much more.
And one must remember that the average LPR salary is about 5,000. Which is the entire income of Sasha’s family.
The girl’s mom is panicking, since she has no idea where to get the money. But they must find them–that’s the new reality. And in addition to the test strips, they have to buy food, pay for utilities.
We got them a glucose meter and some test strips, our friends delivered them to the hospital where Sasha is a patient.
There was a woman in Lugansk. And she had two kids. “Was” not in the sense she’s no longer among the living, it’s just that she’s not in Lugansk anymore. “Had” not in the sense they are no more. They are not with her anymore.
That Woman, I don’t know how to call her, left LPR at one point. And left the kids. Alone. “To find love”–it seems that’s the phrasing we heard from social workers who told us about the kids. “They’re adults, they can take care of themselves, but I need to get my life on track”. Well, they are not adults. Valera is only 16, the younger is 10. He was taken to an orphanage. The older one lives alone, since he’s an “adult”. He went to study computer systems.
Friends, here’s the thing.
Lyosha was an ordinary child until the age of 3. Then he had a vaccination and problems began. In the end, he was diagnosed with “mental deficiency, emotional instability”. I don’t know about the vaccination, we’ll leave these debates for the appropriate venues, but it’s a fact he’s 14 and disabled. He lives in Lugansk with his mom who can’t work because she takes care of him. His mood can change in an instant and he loses control. The mom tried to work but it did not end well so she’s afraid to leave him alone for long. They live on a 2,000 ruble pension. Lyosha has to spend the rest of his life taking medications without which things are worse still. He gets fits so extreme that he damages furniture…
I wrote about him in mid-September. I wrote quickly, as an afterthought. But we, or rather Lena and Zhenya, only just got to know them and didn’t realize how complicated things are.
Here’s the crux of the problem.
So I’ve been writing about families whom we’ve been helping. Here’s Katya, and here’s Ulyana, Taisiya, Serhozha. They are like a cartoon flicking in front of one’s eyes, making these texts a monotonous routine for you, and a similar routine for me when it comes to writing them.
There are already over 700 texts on the blog with the “donbass” tag, and there aren’t many reports or thoughts about the war among them. The majority are people stories. Reports. Dear Lord, what word can one use in this context. But they are reports. About aid, but they are also at the same time people stories. Stories of lives of those who are over there. In the midst of war.
I’m literally a typewriter, mechanically cataloguing what I overhear. It’s not pleasant to write these reports. One has to say why we are helping. What happened to the family. Fit it all into simple phrases, without waxing eloquent. Which means it’s very repetitive: “shelling began”, “they escaped only with clothes on their back”, “lived in a cellar”, “husband left”, “a stroke after 2014”, “heart attack”, “the house was destroyed.” And how many stories where children saw their parents die? How many abandoned women? Elderly?
Over 400 (and perhaps more?) on this blog alone.
Not for the typewriter.
She only catalogues. And you read.
That’s just a statement of fact.
This is Lyosha. 14, disabled, lives in Lugansk. Lyosha is a big boy who will never become a responsible adult. Spent the whole life with his family in Lugansk. Yes, shelling, bombing, major deterioration due to the stress.
And yes, Lyosha’s life depends on strong medications he has to take every day. Which were not available in the summer of ’14. There wasn’t even food or electricity. And there is nothing more terrifying than empty pharmacies.
Katya is 13 and she has a class 2 disability. She and her mom lived in Trekhizbenka until 2014. Now it’s controlled by UAF.
When “it began”, shells came every day but they sat in the cellar to the last. And when the “breakthrough” began, they escaped to Lugansk with only their clothes on their backs.” But when they got to Lugansk, it was under fire too. Nobody could believe this would last a long time, or that it was “for real.” Everyone thought it would end any day now. But you yourselves know what it was like in Lugansk. The city was being “killed” from every available weapon. There was no phone service, electricity, the city was “closed.”
After all that, the girl didn’t speak for three months. Nearly all of her problems got worse. She has a whole range of them, including epilepsy, cognitive problems, kidney and sight issues.
When the girl said “mama, I want borshch,” mother started to cry…
Ulyana is a tiny and charming girl with a heart flaw. She is in the hospital every two months.
When she was one, she slept in cellars, dropped to the ground at any sound, and already know that “Hail” and “Hurricane” are not merely “weather problems.” And as any other child from Lugansk, Pervomaysk, or Donetsk, she’s still terrified of any loud noise. Their building was hit many times but their apartment miraculously was untouched.
Across the street, there was a huge construction materials store, Epitsentr. It’s no longer there, nothing was left after 2014. There was a fire station next to it which was deliberately targeted, like other infrastructure sites which were the first to be taken out.